You’ve really got to hand it to the Greens and Labour. They have completely defied expectations on the whaling issue.
See the simple option that most political parties would go for would be to be seen to stand by their principles – loud and proud.
They would get the leader out to say: “New Zealand has a proud history of opposing whaling and we will not abandon that because other countries refuse to abide by the rules. Whales are not only vulnerable species with a right to existence, they are a valuable source of tourism to New Zealand and other countries. Shame on John Key for promising to end whaling only to turn around and endorse the reintroduction of commercial whaling. He has no mandate to reverse New Zealand’s position on whaling. [Labour/The Greens] will stand beside New Zealanders in their steadfast oppostion to all whaling”
Doing that would stop the government having a clear run on its spin and draw the Prime Minister into the issue. Whaling is a national identity issue, like the nuclear ban, and Key is on the wrong side.
But the Greens and Labour are too clever for that. Instead, they’ve cunningly said next to nothing. Chris Carter just got around to putting out a meek press release two days after the fact. Where’s the leadership?
Right now the two sides of the issue in the NZ media are Murray McCully, a government minister, on the pro-whaling side and Sea Shepherd and the Australian Greens on the anti-whaling side.
Clever huh? That really gives a sense of strong NZ-based opposition to the abandonment of our anti-whaling stance.
Now, don’t go thinking that the Greens and Labour were caught by surprise on the issue. They’ve had since at least Saturday morning to get their act together, so they are purposely choosing not to go hard at the government on an issue that should be a free hit.
It’s a strategy so clever, so Machiavellian, that I can’t even begin to understand how it works. I just have to take my hat off to them. Well played, Greens and Labour, well played.